Mali: Mopti Markets
Mopti is a major trading outpost in the middle of subsaharan Sahel region, lying along the millennia-old trading routes from Dakar to Timbuktu and beyond. Not much has changed since then… Camel caravans bring giant slabs of salt, nomadic cattle herders come with cows and sheep across hundreds of miles, smoked fish is sold in giant sacks in huge volumes, metal workers pound hot steel into nails and axes right in front of your eyes, traditional medicines and spices overload your senses – it’s one of the most authentic and incredible markets I have ever seen. Unlike in other places in Africa where people frown or yell at you for photography – here it’s welcomed and everyone is smiling. Women in ultra colorful dresses and kids with sand-dusted faces are all happy that a tourist finally came despite some xenophobic trump-adoring bureaucrat in Washington labeling Mali a “no travel” zone.